John's Journal...


Predator Hunting 103 – The Hunt

EDITOR’S NOTE: What does it take to become a professional hunter, and get to travel the country doing TV shows, putting on seminars, making videos and spending most of your life as a hunter? What gives a predator pro the credentials to stand before a group and speak as an expert? Allen Morris of Springville, Utah, a Hunter’s Specialties’ pro, has hunted coyotes for 28 years. He has placed in the top 10 in the last nine World Championships of Predator Hunting and came out second place in 2002. Although Morris and his partner had the same number of coyotes as the first-place team - 13 taken in 1-1/2-days, the first-place team returned to the tournament site 10 minutes ahead of Morris. Since the contest is judged on who takes the most coyotes the quickest, those 10 minutes were the difference between first place and second place. Click to enlargeHowever, no one can dispute that Allen Morris is one of the best predator hunters in the nation. This week, we’ll talk with Morris about hunting predators.

I just took second place in the World Predator Hunt in Elko, Nevada, in January 2006. There were 72, two-man teams in this contest. Another team from Utah beat us by 10 minutes. My partner and I took 13 coyotes in a day and a half, and our strategy was simple. Everyone on the hunt was talking about how many coyotes they were seeing. Most teams had found plenty of coyotes to hunt. However, most predator hunters hunt like most other predator hunters and buy high-powered rifles with big scopes, which will allow them to take a coyote at 200 to 300 yards. They believe if they see a coyote at a long distance, they should be able to shoot him. Naturally, they believe that the more land you see, the greater your odds are for taking coyotes. My partner and I decided to hunt just the opposite way. We decided that we only needed to see 50 or 60 yards to take a coyote with a shotgun. Therefore, we started calling areas that had heavy sagebrush. We were calling coyotes in places that other hunters were driving past because they were looking for the classic coyote stand where they could see great distances. A classic coyote stand will be on top of a little hill 15 to 20 feet above a big flat that is relatively open where you can see 200 to 400 yards in all directions. You should be able to see almost 180 degrees out in front of you, and your buddy on a little knob behind you should be able to see the 180 degrees that you can’t. By using this type of setup, one of you should be able to see and take any predator that Click to enlargecomes within range. This is a perfect coyote stand, but my partner and I avoid those types of stands. I sit on the Hunter’s Specialties’ Tripod, an elevated stool. I have my shotgun at the ready, and I call toward the heavy sage.

One of the advantages of calling in this type of cover is that most hunters won’t try and get this close to a coyote, and most hunters also won’t call to them in a section of land this thick. These coyotes haven’t heard any predator calling like the coyotes have heard from those classical stand sites. I’ll put my partner 70-yards upwind of me and let him call. We’ll both be at the ready with our shotguns. Most of the coyotes we take are with shotguns. We carry our rifles with us too. I believe most predator hunters prefer to shoot rifles than shotguns, and they’d rather hunt wide-open spaces instead of thick brush. We would’ve won the World Championship this year if we had killed just one more coyote or arrived at the check-in station quicker. Taking second place with more than 70 teams is not a bad finish. We’re really proud that we were able to do that well in that contest. The first-place team had 13 coyotes. We had 13 coyotes in second place. The third-place team had 11 coyotes, and the fourth-place team had seven coyotes. I think we did well by hunting those thick-cover areas. Click to enlargeI’m beginning to learn that the places that look like where you can set up and call a coyote are the spots getting the most coyote pressure. The nasty-looking areas with a lot of thick cover where you can only see 50 to 60 yards are the places that receive the least amount of hunting pressure. Therefore, in these regions, the coyotes are more willing to come to the call. By scouting, I’m learning that the highest density of coyotes is usually in the areas with the thickest cover.

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Check back each day this week for more about ALLEN MORRIS AND PREDATOR HUNTING

Day 1: Predator Hunting 101 – The Beginner
Day 2: Getting started Predator Hunting
Day 3: Predator Hunting 102 – Setting-Up
Day 4: Predator Hunting 103 – The Hunt
Day 5: Calling and Shooting Predators



Entry 338, Day 4